I'm building a flexible search tool where the user can put together a query against one or many of a long list of fields to pull back a list of results. I was considering a TFS like query builder solution but the interface will have to be very fast. There are 11 fields to query against currently but that will grow to 20 or so over time.
I'm on the fence on whether the fields in the droplist should be listed in alphabetical order or in order of popularity. I don't have hard numbers, but I believe that 4-5 of the 11 options account for the vast majority of searches.
Is there any research on the performance of alphabetical vs popularity sorted lists?
P.S. There is a sizable user population that will be navigating via keyboard.